The Cincinnati Zoo Wants You To Stop With All The Harambe Memes

August 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Nearly three months after Harambe was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo to ensure the safety of a little boy, memes using the gorilla’s image continue to flood the internet. 

Harambe-related memes, often tongue-in-cheek or satirical, have become so popular that the zoo is now speaking out against social media’s obsession with the gorilla.

We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe,” Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo, told The Associated Press. “Our zoo family is still healing, and the constant mention of Harambe makes moving forward more difficult for us.”

Many of the Harambe memes center on the idea of memorializing the gorilla, who was killed in May after he grabbed and dragged a 3-year-old boy who had fallen into his enclosure. The Cincinnati Zoo received intense criticism for deciding to shoot the 17-year-old gorilla. The family of the toddler was also criticized, with some people calling for the family to be prosecuted

But the range of Harambe memes ventures into absurdity, involving everything from “Saving Private Ryan” to Michael Phelps to Pokémon Go.

Beyond the absurd, some instances of the Harambe meme have been highly offensive, including one version used as a racist attack against black celebrities.

In addition to the memes, there are also hundreds of Harambe-related petitions on, including efforts to turn the gorilla into a pokémon, canonize the animal and rename the Cincinnati Bengals the Cincinnati Harambes

The petitions have grown so numerous and often ridiculous that James Leggate of Cincinnati station WCPO started a petition to put an end to Harambe petitions on

“At first, the petitioners had good intentions,” Leggate wrote on WCPO’s website. “They were upset that Harambe died. … But then the goofuses of the internet hopped on the Harambe train for their jollies, and it has gotten out of control.”

Leggate has a point: These memes and petitions may be entertaining, but they also risk turning a tragic event into the butt of a joke. If you want to give meaning to Harambe’s death, there are more effective ways to support gorillas and animal conservation.

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Sen. Mark Kirk Says President Obama Is ‘Acting Like The Drug Dealer In Chief’

August 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

A GOP senator fighting for his seat in a tight race said President Barack Obama was “acting like the drug dealer in chief.”

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told the State Journal-Register newspaper last week that a $400 million payment to Iran was a “ransom” paid for the release of U.S. prisoners. 

Kirk said:

We can’t have the president of the United States acting like the drug dealer in chief, giving clean packs of money to a … state sponsor of terror. Those 500-euro notes will pop up across the Middle East. …. We’re going to see problems in multiple (countries) because of that money given to them.” 

The Obama administration said the payment was “leverage,” not a ransom. 

The money was part of a fund Tehran used to purchase U.S. military equipment when the shah was in control of Iran; it was frozen after the Islamic Revolution. The U.S. and Tehran settled a dispute over the money, with Washington agreeing to pay the $400 million, plus $1.3 billion in interest, but delayed that first payment in January by several hours “to retain maximum leverage” until it ensured the release of the prisoners, The New York Times reported.  

On Twitter, a number of people called out Kirk for using racially charged language to insult the president:  

Dog whistle? Try bullhorn.

— Leonard Pitts, Jr. (@LeonardPittsJr1) August 21, 2016

Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois just decided to call our first African-American President a “drug dealer in chief.” #racist #gop

— John Barber (@jonrob718) August 22, 2016

Definitely not racist: GOP senator calls Obama 'drug dealer in chief'

— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) August 21, 2016

Not only is Senator Kirk's comment deeply racist, (a black President being called 'drug dealer in chief'? C'mon)) but it's factually wrong.

— Sean Byrne (@Schmageggi) August 22, 2016

Obama acting like "drug dealer"? GOP Senator would not use this term if Obama were white. Racist on several levels

— Keith Devlin (@profkeithdevlin) August 21, 2016

Hey because that's not a racial dog whistle. NeverTrumper Kirk reasserting his street cred with GOP racists.

— Elliott Lusztig (@ezlusztig) August 21, 2016

Kirk, who is running against Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, withdrew his support for Donald Trump in June


(h/t Raw Story)

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Al Roker Goes In On Ryan Lochte, Becomes Internet Hero

August 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

If Ryan Lochte is looking for a sympathetic ear, Al Roker is not his guy.

The NBC weather anchor did not leave viewers wondering how he really felt about the Olympic gold medalist’s debunked story about being robbed with his teammates in Rio.

“He lied to you, he lied to Matt Lauer, he lied to his mom,” Roker told Billy Bush on the Today show on Friday. “He left his teammates hanging while he skedaddled. There was no robbery, there was no pull over. He lied.”

Bush ? who was the one to first report that Lochte was robbed while interviewing the swimmer on Sunday ? tried feebly to defend Lochte, saying he lied about “some details,” but Roker was not messing around. Anchor Natalie Morales also took issue with Bush’s characterization, but she didn’t begin to approach Roker’s level of indignation. put together their own viral version of the video, completely with buzzers and bells to highlight just how hard Roker is owning his debate partners.


— Kofie Y. (@KofieYeboah) August 20, 2016

 Oh yeah, and the man knows how to aggressively stir a drink.

Say it with the straw, Al.

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37 Times Donald Trump Should Have Apologized

August 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Yesterday, Donald Trump read the following off a teleprompter in Charlotte, North Carolina:

Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.

It’s a clever line. Hats off to Donald’s speechwriter. But that’s all it is: a line from a teleprompter.

For most of us, an apology involves looking someone in the eye and taking responsibility for what you did. But Trump didn’t even bother to tell us what he regrets saying or who he regrets hurting over the past year.

Here’s the truth: over the past year, Donald Trump has tried to insult and bully his way to the White House. He has fabricated lies and invented bizarre conspiracy theories to stoke racial animus and divide the American people. He repeatedly made racist remarks about a federal judge’s heritage and attacked a Gold Star family because of their faith. He has preyed upon the most vulnerable and disparaged our men and women in uniform in his power-hungry quest for the presidency.

Even after winning his party’s nomination, he has acted more like a Bully-in-Chief than a future leader of our country.

In Trump’s warped world, it might be enough to vaguely say that you have regrets. But Trump owes the people he has attacked and bullied so much more than that. He needs to explain exactly what he regrets–and then sincerely apologize to the individuals, families and communities to whom he has caused personal pain.

Here’s where he could start:

1. Slandering Mexican immigrants: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” [Campaign kickoff speech, 6/16/15]

2. Criticizing former POW Sen. John McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” [Politico, 7/18/15]

3. Criticizing Fox News host Megyn Kelly: “I have no respect for her…You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” [CNN, 8/7/15]

4. Calling children of immigrants “anchor babies” [Fox News (reported by CBS), 8/19/15]

5. Questioning then-opponent Ben Carson’s religion: “I just don’t know about” the Seventh-Day Adventist church [Washington Post, 10/25/15]

6. Mocking a disabled reporter: “‘I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember!’ He’s going, ‘I don’t remember!’” [South Carolina rally, 11/22/15]

7. Claiming that as the Twin Towers collapsed, “thousands of Muslims were cheering.” [Birmingham rally, 11/21/15; debunked 12/4/15]

8. Calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” [12/4/15]

9. Using violent language: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.” [Sioux Center, Iowa,1/23/16]

10. Retweeting an unflattering picture of Ted Cruz’s wife. [Twitter, 3/23/16]

11. Saying it was “not my job to apologize” to the reporter who was allegedly assaulted by former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski [NYT video, 3/29/16]

12. Accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the “woman card” and claiming that without it, she “would not even be a viable person to even run for a city council position.” [Today Show, 4/28/16]

13. Putting out an offensive #CincoDeMayo tweet: “I love Hispanics!” with a photo of him with a taco bowl [Donald Trump tweet, 5/5/16]

14. Calling a Washington Post reporter “a nasty guy” for asking him about fulfilling his pledge to donate to veterans groups. [Washington Post,5/23/16]

15. Going after GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, saying she was “not doing the job” after she criticized him and didn’t appear at his rally. [New York Times, 5/25/16]

16. Launching racist attacks on Indiana-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a class-action lawsuit against Trump University, saying he couldn’t be impartial because he was “Mexican.” [New York Times editorial, 5/31/16], [Wall Street Journal, 6/3/16], [New York Times, 6/3/16]

17. After being asked more than 20 times in one interview, denying he was being racist toward Judge Curiel. [CNN, 6/5/16]

18. Pointing out “my African-American” at a rally in California. [New York Times, 6/3/16]

19. Tripling down on his racist comments about “very strongly pro-Mexican” Judge Curiel, saying he is biased because Trump is “going to build a wall.” [Face the Nation, CBS News, 6/5/16]

20. Saying it is “absolutely” possible a Muslim judge wouldn’t treat him fairly. [Face the Nation, CBS News, 6/5/16]

21. Calling U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” (again). [Donald Trump tweet, 6/10/16], [Vox, 6/10/16]

22. Accusing President Obama of sympathizing with terrorists. [Washington Post, 6/13/16]

23. Calling for a ban on immigrants from areas of the world with a “proven history of terrorism.” [Trump remarks via TIME, 6/13/16]

24. Calling for surveillance of U.S. mosques. [New York Times, 6/15/16]

25. Calling for profiling of U.S. Muslims. [Face the Nation, CBS, 6/19/16]

26. Posting an anti-Semitic graphic on Twitter, which originated on an alt-right message board. [Mic, 7/3/16]

27. Saying the Star of David image he tweeted was actually a “sheriff’s star,” “plain star,” and “basic star” [CNN, 7/4/16] and that his staff should not have deleted the Star of David tweet. [The Hill, 7/6/16]

28. Attacking GOP senators, characterizing Sen. Mark Kirk as a “loser” and singling out Sens. Jeff Flake and Ben Sasse for criticizing him. [Washington Post, 7/7/16]

29. Tying Ted Cruz’s father to the JFK assassination (again). [Politico, 7/22/16]

30. Calling on Russia to interfere in the U.S. election. [New York Times, 7/27/16]

31. Denying he mocked a disabled reporter. [Fox News via Mediaite, 7/28/16]

32. Attacking Gold Star parents Ghazala and Khizr Khan [New York Times column, 7/29/16], [This Week, ABC News, 7/31/16]

33. Predicting the election will be “rigged” [Huffington Post, 8/1/16]

34. Saying former POW John McCain “has not done a good job for the vets.” [Washington Post, 8/2/16]

35. Inciting violence by saying “Second Amendment people” could stop Hillary Clinton from appointing Supreme Court justices after assuming the presidency. [Trump rally, 8/9/16]

36. Declaring President Obama “the founder of ISIS.” [New York Times, 8/10/16]

37. Hiring a campaign chairman who fully embraced the white supremacist alt-right on racist, conspiracy theory-laden Breitbart. [Daily Wire,8/17/16]

That’s a long list. With 81 days left in this campaign, Trump should probably start apologizing.

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Kid Brings Joy To Louisiana With Sneaky Newscast Dance Moves

August 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Despite devastating floods in Louisiana that have left homes destroyed and people displaced, one kid brought happiness to a few TV-viewers in the state. 

As reporter Justin Jaggers reported on the historic flood damage in the Baton Rouge area for WAFB 9, one enthusiastic kid decided to show off some dance moves. Eric Dexter posted the video on Facebook on Sunday and as of Friday morning, it has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. In the caption of the video, Dexter wrote that the sneaky dancer brightened his day.

“Was feeling kind of down, then he popped up on my screen and reminded me that no matter what you’re going through to just keep on smiling and dancing,” he wrote. 

During his reporting, Jaggers didn’t seem to notice his special guest who casually walked away once the reporter turned around. Later, Jaggers jokingly tweeted that he was looking for a “full time backup dancer at all times.” I've decided I need a full time backup dancer at all times, please submit your resumes…

— Justin Jaggers (@JJaggersWMC) August 17, 2016

This kid is proof that sometimes, you just gotta dance.

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Gawker Media Was Saved, But Is Over

August 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos, which punctured the egos of media executives and celebrities and injected a much-imitated snarky tone into internet writing, will shut down after 14 years of operation, the website announced Thursday.

Univision, the Spanish-language broadcaster and digital publisher, agreed to purchase Gawker Media’s stable of sites for $135 million in a bankruptcy auction held this week. The deal is expected to be approved Thursday.

But the flagship site,, apparently didn’t fit into Univision’s plans. The publisher has made a big push into the millennial digital space through the acquisitions of The Root and The Onion and the takeover of Fusion, of which it had owned half. It will continue to operate six other former Gawker Media properties: Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker and Jalopnik. staffers were left uncertain in recent days whether Univision would continue operating the site that triggered a high-profile lawsuit which bankrupted the company and may have made the Gawker brand too toxic for some advertisers.  Gawker Media chief Nick Denton was forced to sell the company after losing a $140 million invasion of privacy lawsuit leveled by Terry Bollea (professionally known as Hulk Hogan) and financed by billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Over the past 14 years, has been an incubator for talent in the media industry and journalists quickly mourned the site’s closing on Twitter. 

Gawker was an incubator of incredible talent and a source of many an important scoop. RIP

— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) August 18, 2016

Gawker was this walking attitude problem my least restrictive platform ever. The world needs places like that.

— Ana Marie Cox (@anamariecox) August 18, 2016

The site has stoked controversy before, most notably when running ? and then removing ? a story about a little-known publishing executive allegedly soliciting a prostitute. 

Bollea sued Gawker over the 2012 publication of a snippet of a sex tape he was featured in. Gawker argued that publication was protected under the First Amendment, but a Florida jury sided with Bollea. 

Thiel held a nearly decade-long grudge against Gawker since one of its now-shuttered sites, Valleywag, reported that he was gay. His decision to secretly back Bollea’s lawsuit, and others against Gawker, has stoked fears that similarly aggrieved billionaires may try to silence media companies they disagree with. 

If you think some billionaire with a grudge won't come after your news org after this, you are sadly mistaken

— Adam Servianski (@AdamSerwer) August 18, 2016

This should be a frightening day to journalists everywhere.

— Gabriel Snyder (@gabrielsnyder) August 18, 2016

In its post on the upcoming closure, Gawker noted that staffers at the flagship site will be assigned roles at the other six sites or throughout Univision. 

Andy Campbell contributed reporting. This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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A Letter To Nicholas Kristof Of The New York Times

August 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos


Dear Nicholas,

Many world events have inspired me since my very childhood. The political upheavals in the South East Asia, the Presidential elections in the United States and the civil war in my own country have shaped by a passion for the covering the world scenes.

Motivated by this passion, I began writing articles for the national dailies of Nepal like the Kathmandu Post and published several articles gaining literary notoriety. Since my childhood, I captured and moved audiences throughout my writing. I also published several articles concerning unique experience as a Nepali youth.

After I moved to the USA to pursue my medical career, I kept my interest in literature and writing by publishing my articles, poems and experiences in several online magazines and newspapers in the English language. My passion further found its spring when I met few community leaders and journalists of Nepali community in New York. I obtained an opportunity as a volunteer writer in the Nepali Weekly.

My writings in Nepali Weekly have largely been about covering the regular Nepalese community events and inspiring Nepalese youths who have come to America to pursue different dreams and carriers. I published some books as well. My carrier being medical science keeps me very busy throughout the week. Despite this challenge, I keep on pursuing what I need to do continuously.

Going to the developing world with Nick Kristof would help me contribute to the New York Times and the world community in general. My background as a youth from a developing country and command of several Asian languages like Hindi, Urdu, and Nepali make me a valid candidate for such an adventure. I could be of a great help in connecting Nick Kristof and the New York Times crew with the public of the developing world if provided with this wonderful opportunity.

Our perception of the world varies according to our identity. We have a cold look towards people and events that do not connect with our family or society. If the same thing was happening in New Jersey or Texas, Americans would feel very different about it. I carry that unique identity to experience and report things of the developing world in a different perspective than the regular NYTimes journalists do.

The developing countries might be poor economically, but each of those countries are richer in some other qualities if we only take and effort to discover them. The spirituality that exists in countries like Tibet, Nepal and India are one of the most important aspect that can elevate the humanity to a whole new level. The rich history of India and personalities like Rama, Krishna and Buddha still rule the psyche of the majority of people in the Asian countries. Most of the population there except the modern classes do not appreciate the wealth and prosperity as much as they appreciate the peace of mind.

Folks in UK and America might have a better apartment and a bed but folks in rural villages of Nepal, India and Tibet sleep far better in the night with less nightmares and anxiety. If Americans could view things from these unique perspectives and eyes of these “less fortunate” people in their worlds, they would not be so anxious to bomb Iran, Afganistan or Vietnam.

At the base of the humanity, we must realize the oneness that all of us arise from. The distinctions appear outside with the clothes, the accents and religions, but there is no difference at the heart. At some point there, we all realize how we are all one family. This eastern spirituality can be a medicine that can heal many wounds America and its allies have afflicted to many countries and people of the world. The same medicine can also serve to heal the sleep that many Americans have lost for several decades now.

On the other hand, I have been a regular follower of articles by Nick Kristof for many years now. His articles have a unique flavor of experiences that are different from other journalists and reporters. I am very impressed with your work. I really respect him from the bottom of my heart. He is such an amazing journalist.

In my opinion, I can add a very different flavor to his materials and writings if I get an opportunity to be with him in trips to the developing world. I can contribute to him firsthand experience of events and things that might even cause him to wonder at times. However, that is the way the people of these third world countries view things in general.

New York Times ranks top over all other American newspapers and magazines, among the immigrant community of America and English-speaking community in the developing countries. These folks consider the analysis by New York Times reporters like Nick Kristof to be of high credibility. His views are considered to be liberal and left-aligned by the Republican proponents, but they definitely provide a greater view of the world that we live in. As an outsider to the developing world, Nick Kristof’s work are exceptional. The Republicans losing the house and power was largely due to the covering of Iraq and Afganistan war by New York Times reporters like Nick Kristof. In the present times, New York Times has played a major role in exposing the CIA tortures during the Bush era that are inhumane and reflect the common attitude of Americans towards the people of the Middle East.

Most of the Americans still look at the Asians, Africans and Muslims as barbarians like Romans used to do. If we keep this kind of view, we will have conflict with the rest of the world forever. We will create enemies in other countries and add enemy countries every other day. This is a major problem for Americans right now. Due to American policy, young Americans are losing an opportunity to experience the rest of the world like they used to do before. Today, because of American actions in countries in the Middle East, young Americans if found there are being killed and slaughtered.

We can avoid all this friction once and for all if we only learn to see the world in their perspective. Hurting one obviously hurts others. The American aggressiveness in wars and murders outweighs the Taliban’s actions, and this is the experience of the rest of the world even if Americans deny it.

The American pride causes it to dominate the rest of the world as if they are specks of dust and this misunderstanding of people and events is due to the lack of real understanding of folks in developing countries. With Nick Kristof, I could help the Americans see a different perspective of the rest of the world and thus possibly cause the American government to make the necessary adjustments and changes in the policy in acting in the third world countries like Afganistan and Pakistan.

I am pretty confident that I can use this platform to advance the cause of the New York Times family to create a better, peaceful and happy world where the entire humanity lives as one family. I look forward to a journey to the developing world with Nick Kristof.


Woodside, New York

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Univision Buying Gawker Media For $135 Million

August 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Spanish-language broadcaster and digital publisher Univision is buying Gawker Media for $135 million, a deal that will end the digital publisher’s 14 year-run as an independent company.

“Gawker Media Group has agreed this evening to sell our business and popular brands to Univision, one of America’s largest media companies that is rapidly assembling the leading digital media group for millennial and multicultural audiences,” Gawker chief Nick Denton said in a statement. “I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership ? disentangled from the legal campaign against the company. We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.”

A U.S. bankruptcy judge will need to sign off on the deal this week for it to be completed. 

Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy in June after a Florida jury awarded Terry Bollea ? aka wrestler and reality TV star Hulk Hogan ? $140 million in an invasion of privacy lawsuit. Though the decision against Gawker could be overturned, or the payout significantly reduced, Denton was still compelled to sell the company, home to flagship site, as well as Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, Lifehacker and Jalopnik. 

Ziff Davis, publisher of PCMag and other tech-focused outlets, made a $90 million “stalking horse” bid in June that set the floor for future bidders. Despite speculation that other media companies may have been in the mix, only Ziff Davis and Univision appear to have made bids for the entire company by Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline. 

Univision, the nation’s largest Spanish-language network, has been on a buying spree over the past year to increase its presence in the digital space and target a millennial audience. The company bought a controlling stake in the Onion in January and a few months later acquired all of Fusion, a millennial-geared TV channel and website it co-launched with Disney in 2013. These moves follow Univision scooping up African-American news and culture site The Root last year.

Ziff Davis had said it would honor Gawker Media’s collective bargaining agreement, but it’s not yet clear if Univision will do so as well.

The deal marks the end of Denton’s ownership of Gawker Media. Denton sold a minority stake in the company for the first time in January, but otherwise kept it independent, even as some digital competitors were sold (The Huffington Post, Business Insider) or brought in large-scale investments from traditional media companies (BuzzFeed, Vox and Vice).

A former Financial Times reporter and early internet entrepreneur, Denton began his blog empire with Engadget in 2002, though he sold the tech and gadget site to AOL, now HuffPost’s parent company, three years later., launched in 2003, quickly gained a reputation for dropping bombs on the stuffy New York media establishment in a personal, snarky tone later imitated throughout the industry. 

Over the years, Gawker Media sites have broken numerous stories on the government, news media and tech world, and helped to amplify the sexual assault claims against Bill Cosby long ignored by most major media outlets. Gawker, at its best, revealed information in the public interest that journalists might have once swapped privately around bar stools. 

But the site also pushed the boundaries of responsible journalism and notably took down a heavily criticized 2015 story about a publishing executive allegedly soliciting a prostitute. And Gawker couldn’t persuade jurors that its 2012 decision to publish a short video excerpt of a sex tape featuring Bollea was protected under the First Amendment. Gawker argued that it provided verifiable information in response to Bollea’s public boasts about his sex life and claims he hadn’t been intimate with Heather Clem, wife of friend and shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem. 

Hogan tweeted shortly after news of the Univision deal broke what appeared to be a reference to his fight with Gawker. 

Like I said"I Slammed another Giant today Brother". HH

— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) August 16, 2016

Another major twist in the case came two months after the jury’s decision. Billionaire Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel was revealed to have secretly funded Bollea’s lawsuit, and others, in an attempt to bankrupt Gawker.

Thiel, who targeted the company in retaliation for a 2007 post revealing that he is gay, wrote in a Monday New York Times op-ed that he was proud of his actions. Thiel’s secret legal backing of Bollea, however, has alarmed many journalists and First Amendment advocates concerned that other billionaires could similarly finance other people’s lawsuits in attempts to silence media outlets they don’t like. 

In the past, Denton has articulated Gawker’s guiding editorial mandate as a willingness to publish a story if it’s true and interesting ? and, importantly, believed to be on solid legal ground. “We have this catchphrase, ‘Whatever We Know, Whatever We Think,’ and we try to share that as much as we can,” he told HuffPost last year. 

On Wednesday night, Denton lauded the company’s spirit and accomplishments before a gathering of Gawker staff and alumni, as well as Manhattan media types from outlets like The New York Times, New York magazine and Vanity Fair. He recalled the early days of blogging and the budding desire at the time to not let “too much stand between the thoughts and the page.”

“What you’re thinking, what you see, what you witness, you have an obligation to put it out there,” he said. “You have an obligation to tell the truth, and the whole truth, including even your preconceptions, to disclose everything. And I think I can say, for better, usually, occasionally for worse, we have said everything. Whatever has been on our minds, we have put out on the page, and I don’t think there’s any other group of writers, anywhere in the world, anywhere on the web, who can say that with as much conviction.”  

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Trade, Truth, and Trump

August 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos

Donald Trump seems to have driven a substantial portion of the media into a frenzy with his anti-trade rhetoric. While much of what Trump says is wrong, and his solutions are at best ill-defined, the response in the press has largely been dishonest.

For example, a New York Times editorial tried to imply that there was an ambiguous relationship between the size of the trade deficit and employment in manufacturing. It pointed out that Japan and Germany, both countries with trade surpluses, had seen a comparable percentage decline in the number of workers employed in manufacturing as the United States over the last quarter century.

What the editorial for some reason chose to ignore was that Japan and Germany have seen near-stagnant labor force growth over the last quarter century. Other things equal, we should therefore expect to see a smaller increase or larger percentage point decline in manufacturing jobs in these countries than in the United States where the labor force has grown by more than 25 percent over this period.

The editorial also neglected to mention that Japan now has just under 17 percent of its workforce employed in manufacturing, while in Germany the share is almost 20 percent. This compares to 8.6 percent in the United States. If the United States had the same share of its workforce employed in manufacturing as Japan, we would have another 11 million manufacturing jobs. If we had the same share as Germany, we would have another 16 million manufacturing jobs. That would make a huge difference in the U.S. labor market.

There are some simple and undeniable points about the pattern of trade over the last quarter century. First, trade has cost the United States a large number of manufacturing jobs. Second, the loss of manufacturing jobs has been bad news for the less-educated segment of the workforce, essentially the 60 percent of workers without college degrees. Manufacturing employment has historically been a source of relatively good-paying jobs for this group, so the loss of these jobs has put downward pressure on the wages of this group more generally.

Finally, in the context of a below full-employment economy (a.k.a. “secular stagnation”), a trade deficit reduces overall employment and output. In a fully employed economy we can envision the loss of demand due to a trade deficit leading to lower interest rates, thereby stimulating investment and consumption. That doesn’t happen when we are looking at near zero interest rates.

Anyhow, it is possible to accept these facts and still argue that the pattern of trade over this period has been a net benefit to the country. But denying these facts is the sort of thing we would expect from Donald Trump, not people engaged in a serious policy debate.

If we want to discuss trade more seriously, we would also ask about what barriers have been left in place. Is there really no way someone can be qualified to be a doctor unless they have completed a residency program in the United States? We would save roughly $100 billion a year (@$700 per family) if we paid our doctors the same amount as doctors in Germany and Canada. There are similar restrictions that protect dentists and other highly paid professionals from international competition.

The fact that highly educated workers have been “winners” in the global economy was less due to their education and skill and more the result of their ability to use political power to protect their occupations. In the same vein, a major part of recent trade agreements has been stronger and longer patent and copyright protection.

These government granted monopolies are forms of protectionism that are equivalent to tariffs of several hundred or thousand percent on the protected items. This is a huge deal economically and often a matter of life and death when it comes to patent protection on prescription drugs. There are more efficient mechanisms for financing innovation and creative work, but the pharmaceutical and entertainment industry don’t want the discussion because they don’t want to jeopardize the protectionism that benefits them.

Donald Trump is a hateful bigot, but that doesn’t mean that everything he says is wrong. It would be a huge step forward if his critics could acknowledge that the recent pattern of trade has been harmful to large segments of the population. Furthermore, this is due to the way trade policy was designed, not the uncontrollable forces of globalization.

If respectable leaders in politics and the media continue to repeat glib clichés, rather than taking the economic reality of trade policy seriously, it should not be surprising that the victims of trade will look to demagogues like Trump. It is unfortunate when we get a more honest discussion of a major policy issue from Donald Trump than the New York Times.

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Is Trump In A Summer Slump Or Spiral?

August 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Videos



By Mark Green

Shrum and Christie largely agree on Trump’s trajectory — almost no chance to win POTUS because “gaffes” that didn’t sink him among only GOP voters are now revealing him as temperamentally unfit to be president. Will Fox consider him as a post-election Host? Will his name be mentioned at 2020 convention? (Yes and no).

Trump’s Self-Inflicted Torpedos: We discuss his comment about “Second Amendment people” harming Hillary in the context of his earlier remarks about carrying protesters “out in a stretcher” and assuring audiences that, unlike Putin, “I hate the media but I would never kill them. I wouldn’t do that, ok?”

Shrum recalls his experience with Secret Service during Kennedy’s presidential campaign and their anxiety about not “losing the third Kennedy.” He repeats Lawrence O’Donnell’s trenchant commentary that in a country with 300 million guns and many mentally unstable people, “it only takes one.”

He and Ron lament how far over the line Trump’s crossed and how apologists like Giuilani (“it was a joke!”; “if he had really meant that, the crowd would’ve gone wild!”) were embarrassing themselves. Yes Trump’s strategy of an outrage de jour was winning headlines, “but it’s also building a mountain he cannot climb over — we’ll probably look back on August as when he lost the presidential campaign.”

Host: Giuliani, trading on his cred as a former prosecutor, continued his screeds from the RNC Convention by asserting he could indict her “in minutes” both because of emails in general and the links between her Foundation and Office. Combined with his racially intolerant remarks about Obama not loving America and citing “black-on-black” crime to excuse recorded police violence, future dictionaries may use the phrase “pulling a Giuliani” to describe someone self-immolating after his peak of fame.

Again — odds of him winning after the three weeks of conventions and Khan-troversies? Ron is sticking with 30%, Bob with no more than 10%, and your Host with the “not more than 5% I’ve been saying for months. Write it down: 52%-42%-6% (for Johnson + Stein).”

Last: how can the media honestly cover a contest between a serial liar (whose idea of walking back an insane comment is to blithely say “it was sarcasm”) versus one who engages in normal puffery? What about CNN running a chyron saying that “Obama ‘founded ISIS” with “(“No He Didn’t.)” Or Arianna Huffington’s insistence that every article on Trump end with a box saying “he’s a serial liar, misogynist, xenaphobe and birther who incites violence.”

Both panelists agree that Trump is a true challenge to the traditional journalistic model of separately reporting from opinion. “I can understand Arianna’s box because the HuffPo is a progressive blog site of note,” concludes Bob, “while CNN’s correction is fair since they have to cover candidates but not misleading their viewers.”

Host: all candidates know, whether they’re ahead or behind by alot, that you run through the tape. So Trump may be catching onto his chances, telling CNBC: ‘if after all this I fall short, even though I’m supposed to be the smart one [!], well, I can go back to my very good life and a long vacation.’

Not exactly. First, he would have traded his middle-brow brand of gold lame’ for one embraced by the kind of racist/nativist blue collar guys he’d never socialize with. His ego boosts will come from waving at NSCAR races though not appearing on any Sunday show. Second, emerging as the most unpopular politician in the history of presidential elections, his name won’t be mentioned at the 2020 GOP convention and there’s a fair chance that some of his grandchildren will ask to change their surnames.

Oh, and Hillary. Again, Trump dominated the news yet at the same time expressed anger that her mistakes didn’t attract more coverage.

Bob expresses amazement that, after she admitted giving a ‘short-circuited” answer on emails (presumably she meant “short-handed”), Clinton hasn’t responded better to her email problem. “She could have said right off, ‘I never received intelligence that I thought was classified…including those two times the email left off the classified heading at the top and had a buried “c” in the text).’”

Charles Krauthammer, however, is less forgiving of the emails between staffs of the Clinton Foundation and Secretary of State’s office, saying such links could grow into something “devastating” to her candidacy, Christie agrees and hits her on the Foundation-SoS ties. The Host, however, asks him: “Do you really think that this couple who earned $100 million from celebrity speeches would create this entire apparatus to help under-developed countries in order to pocket a bit more money?” He says: “I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

Dueling Economic Speeches: Lest Both Sides Now, like the presidential contest, devolve into a chronicle of competing gaffes, we discuss the nominees’ speeches the same week on the economy. Who had the better argument: Trump’s updated “trickle down approach” or Clinton’s “middle-out” one that tags Trump as being only for richies like himself.

Ron correctly points out that the Clintons are rich, Reaganomics worked, and Carter left a worse economy than Bush43 — to which Bob took strong exception.

Trump seemed to get the worst of it on elimination of the estate tax [which Rs falsely call the "Death Tax" since it's not imposed on everyone at death) by noting that it's abolition doesn't affect 99.8 percent of all beneficiaries, i.e. estates worth under $10 descedents

The Host notes that all three of them had sometimes given into cherry-picking facts. "But is there any real rebuttal to two big realities: while Bush43 gained a total of minus 400,000 jobs over eight years, Bill Clinton's economy produced 22 million and Obama's on track to generate 16 million; and based on the Host's analysis of GDP quarterly growth from 1960 to 2016, half under Demorcatic administrations and half GOP [not including the first six months of a new president's term], Democrats produced 40% more growth over these decades. QED?” Lots of cross-talk ensued, convincing no one.

Next for GOP? With everyone focused on November 8, what about November 9th. How does the Republican Party escape it’s demographic cul-de sac? Ron answer is candid and newsworthy: “The RNC doesn’t get it. It can’t succeed as a major party with zero percent of the Black vote. So I’ll be helping make sure that Reince Priebus is out after November, perhaps running for the position myself.”

Host: the post-election fight for the soul of the GOP will between those who embraced or rejected Trump, and those who cater to the white-right-nationalist block or the ‘Reformocons.’ But who can modernize a party with 72% of its members in a poll this month said that Barack Obama either wasn’t born in America or they weren’t sure?

What Ailes Roger? While our radio show rarely discusses alleged private misconduct, Ailes is an exception since he’s clearly been among the most Important five conservatives in America. Will his fall at Fox change that bellwether cable network. Neither think so — Fox throws off a billion dollars annually to Murdoch — but both expect it to adjust in tone since, it’s been said, its demographic is essentially older white guys enroute to the cemetery or watching re-runs of Gunsmoke. Conclusion: he’s a political and media genius who fell from grace because of personal arrogance and immorality.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


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